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Thread: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

  1. #1
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    What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Neil.C has asked me to post this here, it is the condensed and tidied version of a discussion that occurred on another forum and is is my personal contribution to the debate concerning which watch James Bond wears.

    To get the easy stuff out of the way, here is a list of some of the watches he wears in the movies. This is not exhaustive but it does give the central Bond Watch of each film, unless some smartarse wants to prove to me that I am wrong.

    Quote:
    Dr. No……………………………………Rolex Submariner..1
    From Russia With Love ………………….Rolex Submariner..2
    Goldfinger ………………………………..Rolex Submariner..3
    You Only Live Twice …………………….Rolex Submariner..4
    Thunderball ……………………………….Rolex Submariner..5 Brietling... 1
    On Her Majesty's Secret Service ………….Rolex Submariner..6 Rolex Chronograph...1
    Diamonds Are Forever …………………… No watch seen
    The Man With the Golden Gun …………...Rolex Submariner..8
    Live & Let Die …………………………….Rolex Submariner..9 Pulsar ... 1
    The Spy Who Loved Me …………………..Seiko ..1
    For Your Eyes Only ……………………….Seiko..2
    Octopussy ………………………………….Seiko..3
    A View to a Kill ……………………………Seiko..4
    The Living Daylights ………………………Rolex Submariner..10
    Licence to Kill ……………………………...Rolex Submariner..11
    Goldeneye ………………………………….Omega Seamaster Professional..1
    Tomorrow Never Dies ……………………..Omega Seamaster Professional..2
    The World is Not Enough ………………….Omega Seamaster Professional..3
    Die Another Day …………………………...Omega Seamaster Professional..4
    Casino Royale……………………………….Omega Planet Ocean..1 Omeega Seamaster Professional..4
    Quantum of Solace………………………….Omega Planet Ocean..2

    So, assuming I can count: that's eleven to Rolex, seven to Omega four to Seiko, one to Brietling and one to Pulsar. So, that’s the films dealt with. That was easy. Sorry Omega fans, the fact is that Rolex is the cinematic Bond manufacture by eleven to seven. Now we know that Seiko and Omega have Bond watches for the simple reason that the companies in question paid Eon a vast sum of money to place their products on Bond’s wrist. As the shift from the nasty Seiko quartz to the SeMP and then to the PO demonstrates nicely, Bond’s wrist has become little more than a display mounting for whichever company will front up the dosh.



    Don't get me wrong, I love my SeMP. I Just don't see the Bond connection as terribly real.

    However, another fact is that Rolex have rather publicly not paid Eon or the Broccoli family a penny and yet one specific watch from their stable is the de facto Bond Watch: the Rolex Submariner. The Rolex Submariner is, without doubt, the default Bond watch. There is even a story that, when asked, Rolex declined to give Eon a Rolex to furnish Bond’s wrist and that, on the set, Cubby Broccoli took off his own personal Rolex Submariner and offered it to Sean Connery. I have tried to find some confirmation of this story but it starts to look like an urban myth. However, the assumption for the first nine Bond films, before his wrist was hired out to the highest bidder, is that Bond wore as Submariner.

    For the curious, these two links are pretty interesting:

    http://www.hmss.com/qbranch/0202.htm

    http://members.optusnet.com.au/heliosz/jamesbond.html

    So much for the films, what about the books?

    Well this looks pretty simple too. There are a couple of mentions of Rolex scattered through the books, but the most detailed description of the watch that Bond wore comes chapters fifteen and sixteen of the 1963 classic: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (OHMSS) Bond’s watch is described as a:
    “Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer on an expanding metal bracelet”. Bond then uses the watch in question as a knuckle duster, breaking the crystal and, immediately afterwards, is considering what to replace it with. As the quote goes:

    "A Rolex? Probably. They were on the heavy side, but they work. And at least you could see the time in the dark with those big phosphorous numerals".

    So, how many heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometers with big phosphorus numerals are there?

    Well, On the face of it, one: the Rolex Submariner. This has been the received wisdom for as long as I can remember. However, I'm not sure the case is as open and shut as it seems...

    Initially I had two problems:

    one: the idea of a Submariner on an expanding bracelet seemed a bit odd. However, there’s no accounting for taste. Especially from a man who habitually wore short sleeved shirts with a bow tie!

    Two: the modern Submariner has either round spots of lume (or indices) but no ‘big phosphorus numerals’. For this reason, I initially thought that the Submariner could not be the watch Fleming described. However, as Neil.C pointed out to me, for the first four or five years, All Submariners sold in the UK came with three large luminous numerals at three, six and nine. In addition this apparently remained an optional extra until the nineteen seventies.

    So here is an early example. This one doesn’t say chronometer but slightly later ones did…

    http://www.theoldwatchshop.co.uk/collpics/Dscn8429.jpg

    As a result, it is pretty clear that when you get right down to it, there is really only one watch that fulfils all of those criteria: the early Rolex Submariner. So it looks like case closed.

    However, before Neil pointed this out to me I had gone off on a very different track and one I have never seen mentioned before anywhere. There is one other watch that fulfils all of those criteria apart from the ‘being on the heavy side’ one. The Rolex Explorer I.

    Here’s what an early one looks like:
    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgur ... n%26sa%3DN

    The problem is that it is an undeniable fact that no one today would describe the Explorer as ‘being on the heavy side’. The Explorer started life at 34mm and has slowly evolved to being a mere 36mm today. However, reflecting upon this, I realised that we are not talking about today’s tastes, we are talking about the tastes of people way back in 1962.

    So, in 1962 would the Explorer I have appeared heavy? Well, let’s just say tastes have changed a bit since the Second World War. The easiest way to demonstrate just how radically things have changed is through a gratuitous photograph, so here is:



    This is a range of military and 'gentlemens' watches from 1939 to the present day. As you can see the trend is one of constant growth, layer by layer, from the smallest, a 29mm Girard Perregaux to a fairly chunky 39mm Poljot and beyond. By 1962 a complication free 34mm watch would be a large watch and, compared to the average, it would appear very chunky indeed. Of course, there will always be exceptions and, for example, specialist 'tool' watches such as the Submariner Divers watch or Speedmaster Chronograph would just have been considered stupidly large at the time.

    (Some of the watches here are later homage models by the same maker: the Hamilton, O&W and 1-MWC and yes, the FL has had a vile redial)

    Thus the fact that the Explorer, now at 36mm, looks gracile today does not detract from the fact that in 1962 at 34 or 35mm it would have been considered a large, even heavy, watch. I do not claim certainty. However, I think there is a good case for claiming that this puts the Explorer right back in the frame for being the original Bond watch. So now there are two suspects: the Explorer and the Submariner

    There is another strand of supporting evidence. While the Submariner came on a variety of straps it did not come on an expanding metal strap. The Explorer did; the strap looked like this:



    This may become quite important further down the page.

    Then it struck me: Fleming modelled much of Bond's taste and wardrobe upon his own , He even had basically the same rank and back story as his character. He was famously rather vain and would have been conceited enough to imagine Bond as wearing the same watch as he did.

    This got me wondering: what watch did Ian Fleming himself wear?

    That's a real question with a real answer... and I found it!

    Let’s be clear, Fleming wore quite a few different watches, including, for example, what looks like an early forties (30 or 32mm) military Omega. However, sitting in the National Portrait Gallery in London there is a rather nice portrait of the man himself. It was painted, I have been informed, in 1962 as the cover picture for OHMSS.

    In other words the watch in the picture is the watch that Fleming would have been wearing when he wrote the book and the watch he chose to wear for the publicity picture used on the cover of the book. Interesting…

    Here it is.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/charlesvill ... 8949900418

    And he's wearing a watch...

    http://picasaweb.google.com/charlesvill ... 7647106866

    Now, this isn't going to be any old watch. We already know that Fleming cared about watches. Well, when being painted for posterity, and the cover of his new book, He would be wearing his best. Wouldn't you?

    That looks to me like an Explorer I...

    Lets see, first things first: it is definitely not a Submariner unless the bezel has fallen off and it has shrunk! That's a 34mm watch or thereabouts, it's not on a standard fixoflex style expanding bracelet but it does look like it’s on a bracelet a whole lot like the Rolex expanding bracelet pictured above. What else? Well I think I see the give-away ball of 'Mercedes' hands and a mixture of numerals and markers.

    There's no date and there is a bunch of writing in exactly the right place (for an Explorer) at the bottom. The writing at the top is missing, but I think that the artist would have missed it out as it would have undermined the hands and made the watch look too busy.

    So, as a reminder, here’s an explorer from the correct period:

    http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/3338520

    and here is the modern version:

    http://www.rolex.com/en/collection/r...explorer/index

    There simply isn't any other watch that combines the three luminous numbers, the Mercedes hands, the size, the bracelet, the writing in exactly the right place and a complete lack of the black numbered bezel found on the Sub. I think we have identified the very watch that Fleming wore:

    The Rolex 'Explorer I' Oyster Perpetual Chronometer.


    So, now we know what Fleming wore on the very cover of OHMSS and almost certainly wore while writing the book. However, is it the watch that he imagined onto the arm of his creation? Well, that’s the question. Personally I think that now we have identified the watch that Fleming wore everything slips into place nicely.

    Think about the psychology of the man. He imagined Bond into the clothes he wore, had him drink the drinks he liked, gave him a similar back story and identical rank. He even named one of the Bond books (Goldeneye) after his own house! It seems clear to me that James Bond was, to some degree, Ian Fleming’s alter ego and that Fleming, apparently a fairly vain man with refined tastes, would have wanted his creation, like himself, to have the very best of everything. Thus, I find it hard to believe that Bond's watch would be anything less than the very watch Fleming was wearing as he wrote OHMSS and chose to wear on the publicity pictures for that very book.

    In other words, it is my contention that James Bond wore exactly the watch that his creator wore. Thus, if you want the original Bond Watch, as worn by Ian Fleming and thus, in an act of hubris, imagined onto the wrist of James Bond, you want a Rolex Explorer I on an original Rolex expanding metal bracelet.

    Mystery solved?

    Personally I think that, tongue in cheek, had the man had any patriotism at all he would have imagined Bond wearing a Smiths... Perhaps a nice Imperial or Astral. As the ascent of Everest showed, An English Gentleman would wear a Smiths in extremis. The Explorer, on the other hand, was quite sufficient to be worn by his sherpa!



    or even the full Monty



    Or at least a high quality homage... Eh Eddie?

  2. #2
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Glad to see you bought over your interestingly erudite post Matt. I'm sure everyone will enjoy it.

    Welcome aboard. :D

    BTW I'm Neil.C here. :wink:
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

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    Grand Master Dave E's Avatar
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    I've had an inkling for a while that the Rolex referred to in the book was probably an Explorer, nice to see someone doing the detailed research around it!
    Dave E

    Skating away on the thin ice of a new day

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Thanks for the compliments gents. Any criticisms? I'm pretty sure that my central thesis is sound but I'm equally sure that there's a fair amount of errors which I would like to tidy up with your help

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    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Thanks Matt - very interesting
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Excuse my ignorance, it is the first time I see the painting. Also it is an odd hour here and I'm a "bit" chemically unbalanced, but from the painting closeup and the overall size of the watch relative to the hand and also the slightly raised crystal, it looks more like a bubbleback to me.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/charlesvill ... 7647106866

    :drunken: :drunken:

    Thank you for the excellent post, btw.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    I'm not complaining: make the case, I considered the Bubbleback, Royal and Precision but couldn't find any that fulfilled all of the criteria. If you have evidence, or even better, photographs that demonstrate that the bubbleback is in the frame get them up and we can discuss it.

    Personally I would be ecstatic to discover that Bond's Rolex had a nice 1225 or 1215 movement as I own one:



    I'm not wedded to the Explorer, I'm just interested in getting at the truth of the matter.

    We were discussing this elsewhere. Unfortunately some idiot trashed the discussion and it ended up locked. I just want to get to the bottom of it. I'm just posting a nice big target. Fire away!

    Cheers,

    Matt

  8. #8

    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Great read and I suspect your conclusions are spot on!

  9. #9
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Ok, I really have to go to sleep but hell. :lol: :lol:



    (nicked pic, not my watch)


    Imo, the paining shows also a gold bezel, not present in the Explorer.

    The case looks too small for a 36mm watch, in fact you can clearly see it is a small watch at a glance, thing you can't surely tell with a 36mm watch. Look at the thumb proportion and compare it with the watch, it is showing a small watch, imo smaller than an explorer.

    The bracelet type, lugs, raised crystal and the way the watch sits on the wrist looks more consistent with a bubleback to me.

    (again, nicked pic)


    Good night. :lol:

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Lord, that second watch looks tempting. I have to get on with life in Monkeyspace now but it would be great if anyone can find a bubbleback with a black face, Mercedes hands and Explorer style dial.

    *edit* The original Explorer was 34mm while the Bubbleback was 31mm.

    We have another suspect!

    Great work Adrian.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Matt, that's brilliant, thank you.

    Bit of a Bond geek here and agree with much of what you say.

    However just to muddy the waters slightly, I read somewhere (on here probably) that Fleming, whilst maybe basing the style of Bond on himself, based the character on a real life spy that he knew. And that that guy actually wore a Rolex GMT.

    I can't remember any more than that, but it might be worth a thought?

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    good post interesting thanks

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    And there is this reference from Thunderball; Felix Leiter (CIA) is demonstrating a Geiger counter disguised as a Rolleiflex camera with a wire running along his sleeve to his wristwatch, where the sweep second-hand is actually a needle indicating the level of radiation. He says to Bond:

    'You're still wearing that old wristwatch of yours with the big phosphorous numerals....Put your watch right up against the counter. See! The sweephand is getting all excited. Move your hand away and it loses interest. It's those phosphorous numerals of yours. Remember the other day one of the watch companies withdrew an air-pilot's watch from the market because the Atomic Energy people got fussy? Same thing. They thought this particular pilot's watch, with the big phosphorous numerals, was giving off too much radiation to be good for the wearer.'

    This would seem to be a clear reference to the early GMT Masters bought by PanAm.

  14. #14

    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Nice post. (There is no watch that James Bond really wore, however. James Bond is a fictional character. ;) )

    Best wishes,
    Bob

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Now this is watch talk at it's finest - great post !!

    Controversial conclusion though LOL :D

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier
    Nice post. (There is no watch that James Bond really wore, however. James Bond is a fictional character. ;) )

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Hey Bob, we're fast approaching your favourite period - when you can go round telling kids there is no Father Christmas.

  17. #17

    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonK
    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier
    Nice post. (There is no watch that James Bond really wore, however. James Bond is a fictional character. ;) )

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Hey Bob, we're fast approaching your favourite period - when you can go round telling kids there is no Father Christmas.
    Nah. I make exceptions for children. ;)

    Best wishes,
    Bob

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Incidently, although I appreciate you've gone for "the main Bond watch" of each movie, it's a shame to leave out the Hamilton Pulsar 'P2 2900' LED digital watch of Live & Let Die.

    Here on the arm of Mr. Moore.



    And just because it's a great picture, here's the Seiko TV watch from Octopussy.


  19. #19
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    And of course the Seiko Lady Diver worn by Melina Havelock (mmm... Carole Bouquet) in For Your Eyes Only.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Great post.

    On the roll call - I think you missed off the original Casio Royale with David Niven from 1967 - accepting that this wasn't a Bond franchise film.

    If I recall correctly from that film, Niven as Bond, sported a Pepsi Rolex GMT.....

  21. #21
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    That's some fantastic replies, thanks everyone, I'll have a go at answering them.


    I read somewhere (on here probably) that Fleming, whilst maybe basing the style of Bond on himself, based the character on a real life spy that he knew. And that that guy actually wore a Rolex GMT.
    Yes, I remember reading that he based Bond's Character on some guy, I forget who but I will have a dig and find out. Did he base Bond's watch on his choice? Well, first of all, lets see if the watch fits all the criteria:

    http://www.fiftyfathoms.net/Rolex/6542.html

    Nearly, I notice that it even has the elasticated Rolex band. However, what it does not have is phosphorus numerals. Now, last time I said this NeilC was able to correct me. Is this another watch with an early or optional Explorer dial?

    Now SimonK would seem to have found another quote that supports the GMT hypothesis, this time from Thunderball:

    Felix Leiter (CIA) is demonstrating a Geiger counter disguised as a Rolleiflex camera with a wire running along his sleeve to his wristwatch, where the sweep second-hand is actually a needle indicating the level of radiation. He says to Bond:

    'You're still wearing that old wristwatch of yours with the big phosphorous numerals....Put your watch right up against the counter. See! The sweephand is getting all excited. Move your hand away and it loses interest. It's those phosphorous numerals of yours. Remember the other day one of the watch companies withdrew an air-pilot's watch from the market because the Atomic Energy people got fussy? Same thing. They thought this particular pilot's watch, with the big phosphorous numerals, was giving off too much radiation to be good for the wearer.'
    Now reading this carefully I'm not so sure. Fleming has Leiter refer to the Rolex GMT:

    Remember the other day one of the watch companies withdrew an air-pilot's watch from the market because the Atomic Energy people got fussy? Same thing. They thought this particular pilot's watch, with the big phosphorous numerals, was giving off too much radiation to be good for the wearer.'
    This is clearly a reference to the Radium dial on the original GMT. However it is crucial to note that Leiter is not referring to Bond's watch, he is referring to a different watch, an air pilot's watch, Bond's watch is referred to as 'that old Wristwatch' It seems clear to me that Fleming is having Lieter refer to two different watches: Bond's and the pilots' watch. The inference seems clear to me: Bond's watch is not a Rolex GMT, it is some older watch with big phosphorus (Radium) numerals.

    It seems clear to me that, when Leiter says 'same thing' that he is talking about the radioactivity of the numerals, not the same watch, otherwise he would surely comment on the fact that Bond wears the same watch.

    For a moment, it looked like the GMT was moving into the frame, however, to my mind, this exchange actually disqualifies the GMT from being the Bond watch!

    More importantly, it supports the idea that Ian Fleming had a particular watch in mind for Bond's wrist. It also gives us two further clues: in 1965 Bond's watch was considered old and the watches numerals were not tritium but radium. Oh well, that's the Fat Arrow out!

    Next:
    Thomas Reid, who gave me so much pleasure with his forensic dissection of the Tianjin movements has observed:

    There is no watch that James Bond really wore, however. James Bond is a fictional character.
    Did I mention that I used to teach philosophy...

    However rather than disappear all the way up my arse this early in the day I would rather go for the common sense approach. Take Miss Moneypenny. It seems to me that there is a right and many wrong answers to the question: who was Q's secretary in the James Bond Books? In ordinary talk we would be happy to say that there is a fact of the matter here. I am looking to establish the correct answer to an equivalent question.

    It seems obvious, that, while fictional, there can be a determinate answer to the question: what watch did James Bond wear. However, if not then I will settle for a more convoluted question: What watch was Ian Fleming thinking of when he described the watch on the wrist of his fictional character James Bond. That's unwieldy but I'm pretty sure that it works.

    So, that's where we are so far.

  22. #22
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?



    Shhuuley Schum Mishtake Mr. Bond!? :shock:

  23. #23

    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt

    Next:
    Thomas Reid, who gave me so much pleasure with his forensic dissection of the Tianjin movements has observed:

    There is no watch that James Bond really wore, however. James Bond is a fictional character.
    Did I mention that I used to teach philosophy...

    However rather than disappear all the way up my arse this early in the day I would rather go for the common sense approach. Take Miss Moneypenny. It seems to me that there is a right and many wrong answers to the question: who was Q's secretary in the James Bond Books? In ordinary talk we would be happy to say that there is a fact of the matter here. I am looking to establish the correct answer to an equivalent question.

    It seems obvious, that, while fictional, there can be a determinate answer to the question: what watch did James Bond wear. However, if not then I will settle for a more convoluted question: What watch was Ian Fleming thinking of when he described the watch on the wrist of his fictional character James Bond. That's unwieldy but I'm pretty sure that it works.

    So, that's where we are so far.
    Sure, one might think of fictional discourse in a number of ways. And, one does indeed want to distinguish between correct and incorrect claims. One might think of there being a fictional discourse operator, sort of a "according to the story" operator. Or, one could take a semi-realist position with regard to fiction, ala David Lewis, e.g., in the closest possible world where the story is true ....

    So it goes. Have fun.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  24. #24
    Grand Master SimonK's Avatar
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Now, in Live and Let Die (1954) Bond swims a considerable distance underwater at night (with oxygen tanks) to attach a limpet mine to the hull of the 'Secataur'. Once directly underneath the ship he pauses and :-

    'He looked at the Rolex watch on his wrist. It was three minutes past eleven o'clock'.

    The submariner 6204 was launched in 1954 and had a depth rating of 600ft. Were I a gambling man I would put next month's rent on that being what Fleming had in mind.

  25. #25
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Now, in Live and Let Die (1954) Bond swims a considerable distance underwater at night (with oxygen tanks) to attach a limpet mine to the hull of the 'Secataur'. Once directly underneath the ship he pauses and :-

    'He looked at the Rolex watch on his wrist. It was three minutes past eleven o'clock'.

    The submariner 6204 was launched in 1954 and had a depth rating of 600ft. Were I a gambling man I would put next month's rent on that being what Fleming had in mind.
    And I would say that that would be a very risky bet.

    Firstly, while Live and let Die was published in 1954 it was written between April 1952 and some point in 1953. In other words prior to the release of the 6204. Secondly, the watch didn't have Mercedes hands but 'parallel' ones, and thirdly, To have the large phosphorus numerals described by Fleming, the Submariner would have to be a version with exactly the same luminosity of the Explorer, in other words, exactly as visible, even under water! Finally, the whole point of the Explorer was that it was, and is, a go anywhere, do anything watch.

    While it was only rated to 50 meters, this was not the modern 50 meters static but 50 practical meters. I am reliably informed that, with its screw down crown, most people consider it to be 100m capable today as the way we measure depth capability has changed, the Explorer has moved unchanged from a 50m to 100M rating. The fact is that the Explorer has been to some fairly inhospitable places. I'm pretty sure that shallow transitional Scuba diving would not phase it - in the same way as I am confident enough to use a Speedmaster Pro while sea and even surf kayaking and that's only rated to 30m (admittedly only once and only to be able to say I had...)



    I think that the conceit of using an Explorer as a single 'gentleman's watch that does everything' fits both Fleming and Bond's character to a tee.

    I confess that under normal circumstances I use a Bond SeMP:


    Unlike Bond!

    *edit* Yes, to answer the sharp eyed question, that is a Klepper folding kayak.

  26. #26
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Okey dokey, but what about a 6202 turnograph?

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt

    Yes, I remember reading that he based Bond's Character on some guy, I forget who but I will have a dig and find out. Did he base Bond's watch on his choice? Well, first of all, lets see if the watch fits all the criteria:
    It was Sir Fitzroy MacClean, I remember his 007 books being sold for auction earlier this year.

    Interesting note about Commander (Bonds rank) Wilfred Dunderdale also.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 360283.ece

    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt


    Nearly, I notice that it even has the elasticated Rolex band. However, what it does not have is phosphorus numerals. Now, last time I said this NeilC was able to correct me. Is this another watch with an early or optional Explorer dial?
    No.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  28. #28
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonK
    Okey dokey, but what about a 6202 turnograph?
    Came out same year as the Sub, 1953, so probably a bit late but interestingly enough there was a deluxe version with a solid gold bezel available. :wink:

    Not sure if it ever came with the choice of an Explorer type dial though.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt


    Next:
    Thomas Reid, who gave me so much pleasure with his forensic dissection of the Tianjin movements has observed:

    There is no watch that James Bond really wore, however. James Bond is a fictional character.
    Did I mention that I used to teach philosophy...
    Hey Matt, you and Bob (Thomas Reid) are kindred spirits he still does teach philosophy .................up at Oxford. :)
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Interesting post and excellent detective work. Thanks!

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    James Dowling has a Rolex Commando on his site. Not sure how the "Commando" legend fits with working under cover but it looks a strong candidate in other respects with an Explorer dial and parallel hands.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Good stuff. I've seen the Explorer hypothesis before (can't remember where, it's been a couple years) and the case is strong. At the end of the day, the larger WIS public isn't going to change their mind about the Sub however. In this case, the movie is 'better' than the book :wink:

  33. #33

    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Wow this a great post! However going back to the film watches, do you actually see Connery wearing a sub in You only live Twice? Also does Dalton wear a Sub in The living Daylights? Im sure he wore an all black watch. Maybe a early Tag?

    Simon

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    good post matt, very informative.



    cheers
    mike :wink:
    wtb - rxw pro-lex comex sub.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Excellent, just excellent :)

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    First, thanks for all the wondeful comments. I started writing this a couple of hours ago and then life got in the way. So think of this as a bit out of date!

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonK
    Okey dokey, but what about a 6202 turnograph?
    Well, as discussed many times before, it is a perfectly legitimate possibility. I don't deny that. What I have been attempting to do here is threefold. First, I wanted to open up the possibility that the Submariner (in whatever guise) was not the automatic candidate for the literary Bond Watch.

    Second, I wanted to put forward the hypothesis that Fleming's choice of watch during the period he was writing OHMSS and his choice of watch for his promotional painting for the same book might shed some light upon the watch he was imagining Bond wearing. As Rilke said: 'every author should write what they know'. This doesn't make the Explorer or Bubbleback the Automatic Bond watch, but it does open up an intriguing possibility. I'm not personally convinced that the description from 'live and let die' closes down the Explorer hypothesis. However, if you are, then you have found your Bond. Personally I really like the idea that Bond would use such a minimalist watch poised so delicately between the military WWW watches and the classic 'Air King' gentleman's watches. To me that just feels right.

    Next

    One might think of there being a fictional discourse operator, sort of a "according to the story" operator. Or, one could take a semi-realist position with regard to fiction, ala David Lewis, e.g., in the closest possible world where the story is true ....

    So it goes. Have fun.
    Twenty years ago it would indeed have gone... into Frege's verses Russell's theories of meaning or, worse, into Continental 'woolly uplift'. Today however, I don't think it will. Let's just back away from philosophy in a public forum shall we? The last time it happened it went horribly wrong. Let's just say that I think I'm convinced by Ricoeur and Dennett's claim that we are all fictional characters and as such it is really difficult to make a principled distinction between a fictional Fleming and a fictional Bond (or indeed a dead (and thus now equally fictional? mate of Hume's. Sadly, as you can probably guess, I'm one of those nasty cognitivist philosophers who have moved into an unholy alliance with the scientists in the hope of getting traction again.)

    Interesting discussion though.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Catching up...

    James Dowling has a Rolex Commando on his site. Not sure how the "Commando" legend fits with working under cover but it looks a strong candidate in other respects with an Explorer dial and parallel hands.
    Well, I'd love it to be a commando as I own the civilian version - I bought it recently and it's in for a service (and a new Crown tube) at the moment:



    However, I don't think it is the one. The reasons are twofold: first, it isn't a chronometer or even a perpetual - as described by Fleming. Second it lacks the Mercedes hands that feature so clearly in the painting.

    However, that said, I am really very tempted by the bubbleback hypothesis on size alone. Compare the 34mm Rolex Oyster Royal with a 30mm Omega:



    and the watch on Fleming's wrist:



    Now I have a thin wrist and it looks to me even the most hyperbolic description of a bubbleback could not call it 'heavy'. For this reason alone, I'm not sure it can be the watch in question.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt
    it would be great if anyone can find a bubbleback with a black face, Mercedes hands and Explorer style dial.
    (my Keyboard is severely buggered as i type) :evil:

    Let's not forget this is a painting, not a photo, so not all details can of will be accurately reproduced, while Keeping the proportions. For the sake of argument you could take a photo of yourself in the same position as the painting wearing a bublebacK and an explorer. Try to ignore the demand of having an exact reproduction of the dial, but rather look at proportions relative to the hand and watch case. My bet is still on the bubbleback.

    Also the premise that Flemming and Bond wore the same watch could be false. What if he wore a different watch, similar in style (say a bublebacK :lol:) and then he "upgraded" it for Bond to wear?

    (Sorry, looKs liKe you beat me with your reply. Took me 30min to write the above. :evil: )

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Let's not forget this is a painting, not a photo, so not all details can of will be accurately reproduced, while Keeping the proportions.
    Yes, I agree with this entirely, I even rely on it as the writing on the top of the watch is missing. I argue that this makes sense for reasons of clarity. However, given that we are clearly looking at a talented artist who presumably wasn't in th ebusiness of confabulating watch details I think the painting is a safe source. Others may disagree.

    For the sake of argument you could take a photo of yourself in the same position as the painting wearing a bublebacK and an explorer. Try to ignore the demand of having an exact reproduction of the dial, but rather look at proportions relative to the hand and watch case. My bet is still on the bubbleback.
    Well, I have already done the photos and I agree the bubbleback looks like a winner - anyone fancy photoshopping the three images so the wrists are the same relative size. Or better, taking their own photos without my skinny wrists.

    Also the premise that Fleming and Bond wore the same watch could be false. What if he wore a different watch, similar in style (say a bublebacK :lol:) and then he "upgraded" it for Bond to wear?
    Yes, that is a distinct possibility. However, if he was in the business of upgrading to a Submariner or an Explorer then why the hell didn't he just mention the name? He said everything else on the dial!. The fact is that the Explorer only became the Explorer after Everest, just as the Smiths Imperial became the Smiths Everest. What did Leigh Mallory wear I wonder? (George, not Trafford)

    I would be agreeing with you if it wasn't for the fact that Fleming was clearly not describing a small watch in OHMSS. I really like the idea of the bubbleback. In the original version of this I started off arguing that the watch could well be a WWII WWW Rolex much like the Bubbleback. I'm just following the evidence.

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    Master lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Maybe something like this? Larger and heavier than the average watch of the period, large luminous numbers (all of them, save the six), waterproof enough to be a divers'...



    And an expanding bracelet could be a standard expansion band of the type shown below. They were very popular and common in the fifties.

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    it is a very good painting with a lot of detail (the shadow on the veins, for example) which is why it can't be an explorer because of the gold (?) bezel, imo

    as for calling the watch "heavy", maybe some poetic license should be taKen in consideration? (calling a light watch "heavy")? He didn't specifically give a model name because his closest peers will spot the difference between his watch and Bond's? (he was a vain guy)? :bounce:

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii
    Maybe something like this? Larger and heavier than the average watch of the period, large luminous numbers (all of them, save the six), waterproof enough to be a divers'...



    And an expanding bracelet could be a standard expansion band of the type shown below. They were very popular and common in the fifties.
    Or this?




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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Great post. What happened to Rolex Sub No. 7 ?? :?

    maseman

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    Matt, that's brilliant, thank you.

    Bit of a Bond geek here and agree with much of what you say.

    However just to muddy the waters slightly, I read somewhere (on here probably) that Fleming, whilst maybe basing the style of Bond on himself, based the character on a real life spy that he knew. And that that guy actually wore a Rolex GMT.

    I can't remember any more than that, but it might be worth a thought?
    Was it my thread here?
    http://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.ph ... 3683&st=45

    Hope the link is OK mods?

    Best regards David

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?












  46. #46
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jr
    This looks more like a trench watch.

  47. #47
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    I read OHMSS a while ago and thought the Submariner an unlikely choice for the undercover personna in the book. I would have thought when the book was written a Submariner would not have been the watch of choice for Sir Hilary Bray, the genealogist that Bond was posing as.

  48. #48
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Great post Matt, its brought up some good comments!!

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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Now that is a fascinating thread! I just hope it IS an explorer, think I could shift mine for hundreds of billions then :lol:

    We can't stop here, this is bat country.


  50. #50
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    Re: What Watch Did James Bond Really Wear?

    Superb thread, I think I'll move it to classic posts.

    Eddie
    Whole chunks of my life come under the heading "it seemed like a good idea at the time".

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